Rose Hill senior Josh Aubuchon is still stunned when he looks at the number of goals the boys soccer team has scored this season.
The Rockets lost scorer Austin Walls to graduation and were expecting to be more defensive-minded. But they've done it without sacrificing any scoring.
The Rockets are averaging about five goals en route to their second consecutive appearance in the Class 4-1A semifinals. The Rockets (16-1) face Lenexa St. James (10-9) at 5 p.m. today in Towanda. It's a rematch of last year's semifinal, won 1-0 by Rose Hill.
DeSoto (12-7) faces Berean Academy (14-4) in the 7 p.m. semifinal.
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"We figured we would be able to get a couple of goals, but no one, not even us, expected for us to do what we've done," Aubuchon said.
Aubuchon and Ramsey Khalidi have been the most potent. Aubuchon leads the team with 59 points (23 goals, 13 assists) and Khalidi leads with 29 goals.
The two seniors play club soccer together and have become familiar with one another since Khalidi joined the team last season from Augusta.
"We complement each other well," Aubuchon said. "I'm usually creating space and he comes through and finds the back of the net."
Though Rose Hill's offense is one of the most talented in the state, its defense will be the deciding factor this weekend, Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat said.
Four goals were scored in the semifinals and final last season. One goal decided each game.
"At this point, all the teams are pretty evenly matched," Treat said. "Whoever shows up and plays the best defense will take the trophy home."
Taking the trophy home has a different meaning to Rose Hill this time around. The Rockets hosted the tournament last season and felt the pressure of trying to win the state title on their home turf. But having gained that experience will help the Rockets, Aubuchon said.
"We know how it feels to get their and not win it. That's not a good feeling," Aubuchon said. "We remember last year and we've worked really hard on trying not to have it end the same way."
If the Rockets are able to defeat St. James, they will be pulling for Berean. Berean defeated Rose Hill in the second game of the season for its only loss.
"It would be nice," Aubuchon said. "We'd love to play them again, especially for the title."